Walking into Prague’s Batalion Comic Book Museum and Club, you would be forgiven for thinking that you’ve wandered into a bar decorated from Roy Liechtenstein’s sexual nightmares, but this museum/club is actually a love letter to Czech comics pioneer Kája Saudek.
A leading voice in the underground Czech comics scene of the 1970s, Saudek took inspiration from American artists such as Robert Crumb. His works often depicted large-breasted women in lurid situations but contained pointed satire and criticism of Czechoslovakia’s communist regime. A number of his works were banned during their initial release, and his work was not made available in full until the 1990s.
Saudek died in June of 2015, but his work continues to live on in the permanent gallery above the Batalion Bar in Prague. The space is owned by a father-son team, the elder of which was a friend of Saudek’s. The gallery located on the second floor of the club holds a number of Saudek’s original pages under glass. The bar space itself is decorated with enlarged color versions of his panels, with sensational figures of half-naked women and angels popping out of nearly every surface. Unsurprisingly, this also adds to its raucous atmosphere. (Make no mistake, this is also a standard crazy-weekend bar).
Should you fall in love with Saudek’s work, the Batalion also sells reproductions, shirts, mugs, and memorabilia. Fans of comics, rebellion, drinking or simply unknown artists could well do for a visit to this bar that certainly would have been banned at an earlier age.
Update as of January 2022: Although the museum is now closed, the bar is still open.